I’m going to cheat a bit on this one…
Nearly seven years ago, back when publishing notes on Facebook was a thing, I responded to the request from a friend to post 25 Random Things About Me. I was surprised that I had 26 things to post, even though I probably could’ve condensed a few of them into a single item. So, in the interest of conservation (reduce, reuse, recycle), I’m going to use some of that list here.
I put interesting in parentheses in the title because I’m not sure everyone will find these 10 things interesting. Here’s hoping!
- I found out that I was adopted when I was nearly 30 years old and my firstborn was about 4 weeks old. My “Aunt Cheryl” is really my mom. Needless to say, this was some pretty earth-shaking news, especially in my hormonally challenged state. Two years later, John helped me find my birth father. So now I have four parents (though one is deceased), and my kids have six grandparents. I’m also now no longer the only child I thought I was. I have 5 brothers and sisters (again, one is deceased). In the end, finding all this out was a tremendous blessing.
- I met my husband in 8th grade. We sat across from each other in home room. He thought I was cute. I thought he was weird. In 9th grade, I dated his best friend (who turned out to be gay — just my luck…). We did eventually begin to date, right before he moved to Vermont. I broke up with him on Valentine’s Day. It took nearly two years and the kissing of MANY frogs to get me to see the mistake I’d made in dumping him. We’ve been together since 1988 and married since 1992.
- Our daughter was born in the back seat of a 1997 Lincoln Town Car at the corner of 104th Street and Riverside Drive in NYC. John delivered her. This was the first of several diva moments she’s had in her nearly 18 years of life. Giving birth to her was a life-changing experience for me. I’ve never been the same since.
- Singing was my first musical expression. I first remember “being caught” singing by my mother when I was 3. We had just recently gone to a wedding, and the two musicians sang the song “September” from The Fantastiks. That’s what I was singing to myself in my room as I played with my blocks. Mom thought it was the radio. When she figured out it was me, she carried me to her bedroom and made me sing it again for my dad. I still remember the look on their faces; they looked at me as if I were some kind of freak. That has, unfortunately, followed me since.
- I am a violist today, and have been since I was 16, but I started off playing violin. Violin wasn’t even my first choice of instrument. I wanted to play French Horn like my Aunt Mary Ann, but my parents didn’t want me to do ANYTHING Mary Ann did. So I talked them into letting me play violin. They never really supported my love of music, often telling me that Black folks didn’t play stringed instruments or play Classical music. Again, they made me feel like a freak for loving music and wanting to do it professionally. They never have understood what I do. This had been one of the saddest things in my life for many years.
- I wore braces on my teeth from the age of 22 to 25. I still had on my bottom braces on my wedding day. While it really sucked at the time, the investment in my smile was worth the pain.
- I love to practice and perform solo Bach more than any other music in the entire world. It is the purest expression of who I am as a musician.
- Beethoven is my favorite composer. When I was in Germany, I took the train from Cologne to Bonn to visit the Beethovenhaus Museum. On the top floor, there is the room where he was born. I remember standing in the doorway and crying like a baby at the thought of such greatness coming into the world in such a tiny space. I also cry every time I hear or play the third movement of his Ninth Symphony. I’ve been a musician for decades and I’ve heard and played a lot of music, but I’ve never heard anything more lovely and moving than that.
- I had an out of body experience the only time I ever performed the Shostakovich Viola Sonata. I dedicated that particular performance to a friend of mine who had just died of AIDS. While playing, I burst into tears during the climax of the last movement. For many years, I remembered every note. It was a really powerful experience.
- My son’s autism has been the biggest challenge for me. Every view I ever had on raising children, education, and the way the world views the differently abled has been challenged, tested, and reevaluated. There have been times when I literally thought I couldn’t raise him and that God had given him the wrong mother. However, I have come to see that his triumphs outnumber his defeats and that he does benefit from my presence in his life. Sometimes I think he’s raising me because he’s taught me so much. He’s a beautiful boy and I love him so much. It’s hard to watch the world misunderstand him, or to see his peers going on to do things he’s not ready to tackle. All I can do is pray and do everything I can to make him as strong and capable as possible. No one will limit this child as long as I’m alive. Only the sky is his limit, no matter what anyone else may think. I will never give up on him. He is my sweet young man.
So, there are the 10 things I chose to share/disclose. Interesting? Perhaps. Good for me? As an exercise, this was absolutely perfect for me, especially on New Year’s Eve. Tomorrow is a new day and a new year. Maybe I’ll have a whole new list to share next December 31.